Style without sacrifice
GE became involved in the project to showcase how the latest energy-efficient lighting technologies can be combined into beautiful design. Following an evaluation of numerous fashionable fixtures, GE's Lumination EP Series Suspended LED Luminaires were selected to illuminate offices inside the newly inspired Innovation Center.
"Looking at how we use resources more efficiently is not about sacrifice," said Bruce J. Oreck, the U.S. Ambassador to Finland whose vision, supported by the Department of State and the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations, resulted in needed improvements to the aging infrastructure, creating one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the Department's portfolio.
"There is nothing about this building or others like it that says we've had to cut corners, which makes it less comfortable or less pleasing. We've achieved a better quality of light, the fixtures are more durable and require less service, and at the same time they require 70 to 80 percent less energy—to me that's about smart thinking and not about sacrifice."
Aiming to LEED
The Innovation Center is projected to reduce overall energy costs by 46 percent a year. This will be accomplished through the use of municipally provided energy from hot and chilled water lines, natural ventilation, a "cool" roof, air-side economizers and automatic daylight dimming LED and organic LED (OLED) lighting. Registered with the U.S. Green Building Council® with a goal of Platinum LEED certification, the Center's aim is to become a model of intelligent energy management and efficiency, with sustainable responses to energy, natural resources and materials.
For indoor energy-efficient lighting with extra-long service life, the Center looked to products awarded under the Next Generation Luminaires™ (NGL) Solid State Lighting Design Competition, a programme sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy that encourages manufacturers to develop energy-efficient luminaires that provide the high light quality and consistency needed to meet lighting specification requirements.
"It was really important to find a system that lit the ceiling and also provided task lighting or overall ambient lighting in an open plan office such as this. GE's luminaire met the energy efficiency requirements but it was also beautiful in the way it lit the ceiling and the way the light came down," said Nancy Clanton of Clanton Associates, lighting consultant on the Innovation Center design scheme.
Form and function
GE's Lumination EP Series LED Luminaire uses patented GE Intrinsx™ technology that couples the LED light engine into the light guide, maximizing the performance and application efficiency of every LED diode in the fixture. This allows versatile light distribution patterns—both diffused ambient uplighting and effective task downlighting.
This 1200mm x 300mm luminaire showcases everything that's innovative and exciting about Lumination. Suspended from the ceiling, this strikingly beautiful luminaire combines brilliant aesthetics with space-filling light, all contained within a premium-quality aluminum frame. And when it's switched off, a clear lens means there's no visible light source.
The Luminaire is a GE ecomagination℠ product meeting stringent standards for efficiency. Its 50,000-hour rated L85 Lumen Maintenance eliminates bulb changes associated with fluorescent tubes and it contains no lead, mercury or glass, making handling and disposal less of a concern.
In 2012, GE's suspended LED light fixture was recognized in the NGL Indoor Competition in the Linear Pendant Lighting Category—judges appreciated its "beautiful uplight" and "sleek modern style."
As a model for 21st century diplomacy, the revitalized Innovation Center at the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki will continue to serve as a space to address progressive environmental goals. In June, the embassy brought U.S. experts on LED street lighting to Finland to share best practices with municipalities on how conversion to the technology is not only possible, but will help the environment and can reduce costs. The experts travelled to six cities to meet with officials as well as Finnish LED businesses.
"Nowadays energy efficiency is incredibly important in all lighting, yet you can't just select something based on efficiency alone," added Clanton. "This latest project shows you can take top quality, beautiful luminaires that perform well, light the way you want and save a lot of energy—responding to the building, the control system and the natural daylight."
"We're hoping that the Innovation Center will be a demonstration to not only the rest of Europe but the rest of the world, on how you can deploy this type of technology into beautiful design."